Thursday, January 15, 2015

Seeking Common Ground for Patients and Physicians

Survey findings reveal that only one-third of consumers (33%) and administrators (34%) think that the healthcare system is on the right track, while just one-quarter of primary care physicians (24%) and one in 10 specialists (10%) share that view.

“What’s Trending Now: New Survey Reveals Common Ground ― and Big Gaps ― between Patient and Provider Outlook on Healthcare, “ Booz Allen and IpSos Public Affairs, in 2014 survey of 1000 consumers and 400 primary care physicians, specialists and administrators

Everybody Agrees

Everybody agrees patients and physicians are why the health system exists.

Everybody agrees the system should be about gaining access to care, preventing illness, getting that care, getting diagnosed , being treated, and getting well.

Everybody agrees accomplishing these goals requires organizations - among physicians, government, hospitals, or insurers.

Everybody agrees these organizations require : 1. access to capital, 2. mechanisms for dealing with administrative and bureaucratic tasks, 3. capacity to organize complex technologies and bring together professionals from various fields and patients and physicians onto some common ground.

Everybody agrees third parties from government, health care business interests, employers, drug companies , medical device manufacturers, data generation and tracking companies are not and will not go away.

Everybody agrees the health system is overly complex – so complex nobody can get their arms around it.

Seeking Solutions and Common Ground

So how do participants in the system respond?

By either seeking simplicity and common ground.

Hospitals respond by consolidating and employing physicians so that they can present insurers with a common front and a single integrated bill.
Government responds by trying to consolidate , control , and pay for everything under one federal roof – government agencies, insurers, hospitals, drug companies, labs, medical device firms.

Consumers and the computer industry responds by using Internet search engines, smartphones and other Internet devices and apps to simplify and expand and empower patient choices.

Physician Responses

Physicians respond by seeking to simplify patient choices:

• by making it simpler for patients to go to a physician with whom they are familiar through the use of information technologies (by setting up physician websites and other forms of communication).

• By helping patients cope with the complexity by making it convenient for patients in their clinics and practices through organizations like Health Leads to gain access to social services, home care, and medical transportation (The Physicians Foundation has backed Health Leads with $2 million in grants to help in this effort).

• By training themselves and their staff to meet and exceed patient expectations and to simply those moments of truth when the patient is in their office (see Susan Keane Baker, Managing Patient Expectations: The Art of Finding and Keeping Loyal Patients).

• And by setting up direct pay/concierge practices to lower the cost of care by eliminating third parties and facilitating more direct, personal, and uncomplicated care, as 20% are either already doing or plan to do (Gerard J. Gianoli, MD, “Saying Goodbye to Third -Party Medical Payments: No Insurers, No Government, No Surprise Bills, “ Wall Street Journal, January 15, 2014).

It would be ideal, of course, for everybody to be on common ground , and to eliminate or simplify all the complexities and hassles of the present system. That is not going to happen. In the meantime, let’s fill the gaps between patients and access to care through innovative solutions that put patients first and make it easier and more effective for physicians to care for them.

No comments: